CFP for panel on politics of public gatherings in Catalonia, SIEF conference, 14-17 April 2019, Santiago de Compostela

Dorothy Noyes's picture
Call for Papers
October 15, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, European History / Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies


Papers are invited for a panel on public gatherings in Catalonia for the 14th SIEF Congress (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore), "Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World," to be held 14-17 April, 2019, in Santiago de Compostela.


Performing transformation, claiming transition: public gatherings and rituals in Catalonia from the 1970s to the present


            Catalonia's participation in the Spanish transition to democracy in the 1970s found a potent resource in traditional festival: conceptual, gestural, and tactical. With the Franco regime's tight restrictions on public assembly, "going out to the street" in any fashion became an act of democratic self-assertion, so that the high-risk confrontations of strike and protest were bolstered by lower-stakes, more multivocal forms of appearing in public. Rooted festival and associative traditions, Spain's growing incorporation into international youth culture and European consumerism, the lifting of restrictions on assembly and expression after Franco's death, and the eventual restoration of full democracy all encouraged a fervent reclamation of public space.

            Since the Transition, public gatherings and rituals have proliferated in Catalonia: new and old festivities attached to a variety of communal identities, youth and LGBT sociability, commemorative rituals, international arts and sports events, social movement revindications, strikes and protests, rallies and referenda. Public actions of diverse tendencies provided rhetorical evidence for the convivència claimed as foundational to both Spanish and Catalan democracy, and, later, for claims of convivència's breakdown. Today the public arena and the now-contested concept of convivència have become increasingly polarized around the issue of Catalan sovereignty.

            With this panel, we invite historical "tracking" of such events across the democratic period and, conversely, ethnographic investigations of the "traces" of history in current public expressions. How have the powers of performance and the inertias of genre, interacting with radical transformation and pluralization in the social base of public expressions, contributed to the current situation?

          The panel convenors are Alessandro Testa (University of Vienna), Dorothy Noyes (The Ohio State University), and Mariann Vaczi (University of Nevada-Reno). To propose a paper, submit for panel #POL 04  through the conference portal at


Contact Info: 
Dorothy Noyes
Professor,The Mershon Center for International Security Studies
The Ohio State University
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